The Resilient Warrior: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War

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A new mental health program provided by UCLA Operation Mend is designed to heal the hidden, yet lingering, wounds of war. The expanded offerings are part of a new national network called Warrior Care Network, which is funded in part by Wounded Warrior Project. Among the hidden wounds of war are PTSD and traumatic brain injury. PTSD can develop in people who have seen or lived through a shocking or dangerous event, causing them to feel stressed or frightened long after the event itself.

Traumatic brain injury can be caused by an object striking the head, a shock wave from the blast of an explosive device or an object piercing the skull and entering the brain tissue.

Peter W. Chiarelli, an executive advisor to the Ronald A. If every institution were doing the same, we could satisfy the unmet needs of veterans and their families for this critical care. It takes a holistic approach and includes four main components: evidence-based treatment for psychological health, healing arts, wellness and community engagement" Our goal is to help our wounded veterans regain a sense of normalcy in their lives," said Dr.

Jo Sornborger, director of psychological health programs for Operation Mend. We also believe that it is important to help the veterans learn how to access and engage with their community resources. This foundation of family and community support is essential to building a healthy environment that will help the veteran succeed. Once the program begins, the veteran and family spend three weeks at UCLA receiving cognitive training for challenges related to symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury. The patient also undergoes one-on-one cognitive processing therapy sessions for post-traumatic stress that address war-related psychological trauma and symptoms related to challenges with memory and concentration.

In addition, the patient and family take wellness programs including psychotherapy in which people interact with horses, qi gong an ancient Chinese practice focused on breathing and movement , acupuncture, acupressure and meditation.

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They also participate in healing arts therapy, life tools sessions, social activities and more. After three weeks, the patients and family members return home and continue their care by phone and over the internet for three more weeks. All care, travel and accommodations are arranged for and provided at no cost to the patients and family members. Four patients and their families participated in a test of the new program in January and had overwhelmingly positive reactions.

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The program will welcome its next group of six to 10 patients and family members in May. Joey Paulk, an Operation Mend patient who underwent reconstructive surgeries for his physical injuries after surviving a blast from an improvised explosive device in In , Operation Mend began offering advanced diagnostics and treatment planning for patients with symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury and PTSD. Warrior Care Network is a groundbreaking collaboration between Wounded Warrior Project and its academic medical center partners, Emory Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital, Rush University Medical Center and UCLA Health, to create a nationwide, comprehensive care network that will enhance access and provide clinical and family centered treatment to warriors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other related conditions.

Through this cutting-edge initiative, WWP and its partners plan to serve thousands of wounded veterans and family members over the next three years. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Newswise — The transition to the battlefield and back home again is a long and, at times, bumpy road for our war veterans.

Kentuckians around the state were able to hear these personal stories of service as a tour of this production travels to five of the state's public universities. Nunn Center for Oral History. The tour of this production and scholarships for the student actors are being made possible with funding from UK Women and Philanthropy. Subsequently, Herman Farrell, associate professor of theatre at UK, and students in his "Staging History" Department of Theatre course, devised a verbatim theatre piece drawn from the oral history transcripts.

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Boyd is happy to see the Nunn Center's work shared not only on the center's website, but on a stage as well. I think the more those can be expressed and articulated to the general public, the better, because that is how we grow and learn as a society. The stories UK Theatre brings to the stage in "Voices of Student Veterans" were edited down directly from 10 hours of recorded interviews collected by the Nunn Center with UK student veterans. Through a cast of eight actors, the audience will follow local veterans' stories through such periods as boot camp and deployment to their transition back into society on a university campus and all the emotions stirred up during those points in time.

Audiences will bear witness to a piece of 'verbatim theatre' — a play that is created completely from the words, the voices of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," Farrell said. In addition to the production, the play will be followed with a question and answer session with Dotson, Boyd, Farrell and mental health professionals and representatives of the respective universities in order to foster a conversation about replicating this unique oral history and theatre project on campuses across Kentucky and perhaps, the United States.

We are proud to showcase the talent of our UK students and the Department of Theatre in this very special production," said Paula Pope, director of special projects, UK Office of Development. Dotson agreed, "I am excited to be a part of something so powerful.

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This is a unique opportunity for the average American to get a look at war from the perspective of the warrior and not CNN. Newswise — Equine-assisted psychotherapy is known to help people address mental and behavioral health issues, but there remains little evidence-based research to prove it. New Mexico State University School of Social Work Associate Professor Wanda Whittlesey-Jerome is dedicating her academic career to establishing and promoting scientific standards for gathering such information.

They teach us so much about ourselves and can give us insight into what it means to be human. These pilot studies of the model focused on using EAP as an add-on to existing conventional treatments. The first study was with at-risk charter high school students attending Los Puentes Charter School in Albuquerque in A second study was done with women receiving services from the Domestic Violence Resource Center in Albuquerque in After the groups were over, several of the women were willing to take the next step to walk away from their abusive relationships and move on with their lives because of the self-realizations they gained by participating in the eight EAP sessions.

In addition to funds to pay for the groups, funds are available for gas cards, healthy food and snacks, and healthy beverages, as well as recruitment supplies. Whittlesey-Jerome will provide program evaluation services pro-bono to help the agencies evaluate the effectiveness of the military family equine groups, and she will submit reports to the state on program outcomes. This model is currently under review by the leadership of the association. The task is to get the horses, without halters or lead ropes, to move through the obstacle.

After completion of the task, the group members discuss their experiences and write or draw in journals or sketchpads about what they experienced in the session. In addition, we need larger studies with more participants. I see this as a possibility as we increase our outreach efforts and develop more university-community partnerships. Survivor of IED blast in Afghanistan finds reason to smile thanks to surgeon, a fellow Army vet utsandiego.

Hidden Wounds of War: Healing Our Veterans

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